Open Season on Tuesdays

Early summer on the farm and the fields are plowed and top-dressed with fresh compost (aka black gold); new lettuce is just coming in; it’s a banner year for asparagus (which loves the moist coastal climate); and the cool weather spring crops are soon to be prime time: sugar snap peas, beets, carrots, spinach, broccoli and cabbage.

Early summer at the Gazette and the Tuesday paper debuts anew; fresh weekly coverage of the Vineyard’s agricultural life is coming to you on Page Three each week with the Farm and Field column. Like its subject matter, Farm and Field has both a rich history on this Island and plenty of contemporary know-how. Today’s column, among other topics, focuses on low membership in the Community Supported Agriculture program, possibly another bit of fallout from the economic recession and suggesting that plows and pitchforks are not the only things a modern farmer needs to think about when cultivating a livelihood from the land these days.

Call it publishing locally. The Gazette (reported organically and printed right here on the Island) and its Farm and Field column will bring you the people and the news of the Vineyard land. You’ll get insight into the other side of the farmers’ markets and the Island-grown food in our supermarkets. You’ll meet the women — thirty-six at last count — and men who farm the Island. You’ll get stories that range from backyard chicken coops and farm-to-school programs, to the farmers who manage million-dollar operations at the mercy, as ever, of the weather.

This spring has been cold, but only enough to slow down some crops. There’s been plenty of rain with good sunshine in between, and the farmers like that.

So stand by for the early summer gems: sweet strawberries. You know they are in when the farm workers’ fingers are stained deep red from picking. The West Tisbury Farmers’ Market begins June 13. Fresh eggs are in abundant supply (hens like it when the days grow longer and respond to the extra daylight by laying more). New lambs are gamboling in fields.

So live (and read) locally, for a healthy mind and body. And then go ahead, have a little cream on those strawberries.